You’re Fired!

Hamptons: Sometimes getting Fired is the best thing that can happen in your life..You wake up in the morning and say what the heck am I going to do? How am I going to make money?  How will I pay my bills? How will I feed my kids, HOW WILL I SUPPORT MYSELF? What am I going to do, then it clicks, and you have no choice but to think positively and you immediately go into action. The most important thing is to not let life’s uncertainties overtake you, you have to take command of the situation and you have to go into action, you have to create an action plan for the rest of your life. You are either going to lie down or you are going to get up..Everybody gets knock down, just what are you going to do to get up…its time to get up! For me it was time for me to get up, show myself what I was made of. Throughout your entire  life you are created for certain moments, when your moment arrives what are you going to do with it? Are you going to waste the moment and  grovel in self pity and uncertainty or will you use the moment to expand your horizons and develop other outlets for your own genius to create something fantastic. We all have genius in us, what are you going to do with those innate abilities that we all have within us? Will you use it for your growth and development, IT IS TIME TO GET BUSY!...This is what I have done, I have gotten busy, I have taken control of my life. I will not let the situation control me I will control the situation. I am so good at so many things and I have made a lot of money for so many people for too long only reaping a 10-20% reward, its my time now to take in 100% of the profits. So getting fired was an initial blow to my ego and it burned  and I was worried; but  I quickly got up and flicked off that bug and realized that this was a higher being talking to me and leading me in a different direction.

There is hope my friends do not let getting fired get you down, the best days of your life are to come. Always remember when one door closes another door opens. Here are a few suggestions for you:
1. Apply for unemployment quickly, do not let pride get in your way,
2.Write down a list of your skills and talents
3. Research…know the industry that you are seeking
4. What are the new trends, how can you make a living from this
5. Be your own salesperson, sell yourself and what you bring to the table
6. Network, Network,Network
7. Immediately send out an email to your network with your new email
8. Be Positive, people like being around positive people not negative people
9. Have Faith in yourself
10. Decide whether you want a job or a Career

Our Family them song is “Ali in the Jungle” Everybody gets knock down, but the question is How quick are you going to get up?

You have been accepted to College now What?

Hamptons: You have been accepted to College now What? It has been awhile since I last posted a blog and that is because I have been spreading myself so thin that most days I barely have time to eat lunch or relax. I have dedicated the last year of my life to helping my daughter with her college process and it has been rewarding, stressful, exhausting and nerve wrenching.DSC_3335

I am pleased to say that she applied to 9 colleges to continue her study of Art with an emphasis on Graphic Design and she has been admitted to all 9 of those schools. Our delima falls in the category that most students and parents face in this tough economic time and that is the cost of most of these private institutions. Nothing is more upsetting than seeing your child apply to their 1st choice, being accepted then having to tell your child that this school is too expensive and they cannot go because you cannot afford to pay the tuition. Being middle class is both a blessing and a curse, a blessing because you can provide for your family but a curse because you fall victim to no help at all. The poor will get financial support from both the government and the institutions and the rich do not need the help, but the middle class is just struggling to pay our bills, put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads, we ask for no hand-outs and for that we are often attacked and our kids suffer. Yes your child could make the decision to still go and financially put themselves in a financial crunch all to enjoy the cafeteria food or better dorms, but you the adult know the consequences of this bad decision, when do you step in and talk common sense to your 18 year old? My daughter’s 1st choice tuition is $59,800 per year, how disgusting is that, are you f….. kidding me? For this tuition the application process should not be as difficult as they made it because who the hell can afford this tuition. We do not feel bad in telling our daughter that we cannot afford this tuition because I do not think 95% of American’s could afford this tuition. Statistics show that many adults age 29-30 are moving back home because they have lost their jobs or they have jobs where they cannot not afford to live on their own and pay off their college loans. This is a different time and parents one way or another you are going to be paying the price if you do not step up and talk some common sense into your very naive 17-19 year olds…….I am attaching the 2011 Princeton reviews for your info.

2011 College Hopes & Worries Survey Report
The Princeton Review, one of the nation’s best known education services companies, has conducted this survey of high school students applying to colleges and parents of college applicants since the 2002-03 school year.  Respondents who complete the survey are readers of the company’s annual “Best Colleges” book and users of its site,
The 2011 survey appeared in The Princeton Review book, Best 373 Colleges: 2011 Edition  (Random House, August 2010) in a paper version readers mailed or faxed to the company.  It also ran on where users completed the survey online from late January to early March 2011.
Findings for the 2010-11 survey are based on responses from 12,185 people: 8,219 (67%) high school students applying to colleges and 3,966 (33%) parents of college applicants.  Respondents came from all 50 states, DC, the Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico and several countries abroad.
The company awards a $1,000 college scholarship to one survey participant chosen at random, and it sends 25 participants also chosen at random one of the following Princeton Review books (their choice): ACT or SAT?: Choosing the Right Exam For You, Paying for College Without Going Broke, or The Portable Guidance Counselor.
Press Contact:
Jeanne Krier, Publicist, The Princeton Review Books, Rankings & Surveys, 212-539-1350
2011 Survey Questions / Findings
In this report, the percent of respondents overall (students plus parents) choosing an answer is shown to the left of each answer choice.  The percent of students and the percent of parents choosing that answer is shown to the right and in parentheses.
The pluralities (answer choices selected by the highest percent of respondents) or the majorities (answer choices selected by 50 percent or more of respondents) are underlined.
The first question, “What would be your “dream” college?…” was fill-in-the-blank.  The remaining questions were all multiple-choice.  Some questions have been asked annually or in past years, and if so, results for prior years are indicated below.
1) What would be your “dream” college?  What college would you most like to attend (or see your child attend) if chance of being accepted or cost were not an issue?” 
In their answers to this fill-in-the-blank question, respondents wrote in the names of more than 585colleges, universities and other post-secondary institutions as their “dream colleges” (with some schools being named by only one respondent and others being named by more than 500 respondents as their “dream college”).
The 10 colleges students most named as their “dream college” were:
1/ Stanford Univ., 2/ Harvard College, 3/ New York Univ.,
4/ Princeton Univ., 5/ Massachusetts Institute of Technology 6/ Yale Univ.,
7/ Univ. of California–Los Angeles, 8/ Univ. of Pennsylvania,
9/ Univ. of Southern California, 10/ Univ. of California-Berkeley
The 10 colleges parents most named as their “dream college” for their child were:
1/ Harvard College, 2/ Stanford Univ., 3/ Princeton Univ., 4/ Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 5/ Yale Univ., 6/ Duke Univ., 7/ Brown Univ., 8/ New York Univ., 9/ Univ. of Notre Dame, 10 / Northwestern Univ.
2) How many colleges will you (your child) apply to?
Almost half (45%) of respondents said they/their child will apply to 5 to 8 colleges while 22% said they/their child will apply to 9 or more colleges.
33%  One to 4 (33% Students, 31% Parents)
45%  Five to 8  (44% Students, 49% Parents)
18%  Nine to 12 (18% Students, 17% Parents)
04%  Thirteen or more (05% Students, 03% Parents)
            Combined: 22% applying to 9 or more.
3) What has been, or do you think will be the toughest part of your (your child’s) college application experience?
The plurality of students (29%) chose the answer “taking admission and placement tests” as the toughest part of their application experience, while the plurality of parents (31%) chose the answer, “completing applications for admission and financial aid.”
21% Researching colleges and deciding which schools to apply to (20% Students, 24% Parents)
28% Taking admission and placement tests – the SAT, ACT, or APs  (29% Students,25% Parents)
27% Completing applications for admission and financial aid  (26% Students 31% Parents)
24% Waiting for the decision letters and choosing which college to attend (25% Students, 20% Parents)
4) What do you estimate your (or your child’s) college degree will cost, including four years of tuition, room & board, fees, books and other expenses?
Parents’ estimates of college costs were significantly higher than students.
82% of parents estimated their college costs will be more than $75,000 while 66% of students had this estimate.
45%  More than $100,000 (41% Students, 57% Parents)
25%  $75,000 to $100,000 (25% Students, 25% Parents)
Combined: 70% said More than $75,000 (down 1% from last year)
15%  $50,000 to 75,000 (17% Students, 11% Parents)
11%  $25,000 to $50,000 (13% Students, 05% Parents)
04%  Up to $25,000 (04% Students, 02% Parents)
            Combined: 15% said Less than $50,000
5) How necessary will financial aid (education loans, scholarships or grants) be to pay for your (your child’s) college education?
Among respondents overall, 86% said financial aid would be “Extremely” or “Very” necessary with 61% of them saying “Extremely.”    More students (88%) than parents (82%) viewed aid as “Extremely” or “Very” necessary.  In 2007, the first year this question was asked on the survey, 78% of respondents overall said aid would be “Extremely,” or Very” necessary, with 51% saying “Extremely.”
61%  Extremely (62% Students, 60% Parents)
25%  Very (26% Students, 22% Parents)
86% said Extremely or Very necessary (same as last year)
12%  Somewhat (11% Students, 14% Parents)
02%  Not at all (01% Students, 04% Parents)
6) What’s your biggest concern about applying to or attending college?
The plurality (37%) of students and parents overall was most concerned that they/their child “will get into their first choice college but won’t have sufficient funds/aid to attend it.” This has been the plurality of respondents’ biggest concern consistently since 2006.  In 2006, the plurality (34%) of respondents were most concerned that they/their child “won’t get into first-choice college.”
25%  Won’t get into first-choice college (27% Students, 22% Parents)
37%  Will get into first-choice college, but won’t have sufficient funds/financial aid to attend
          (36% Students, 37% Parents)
27%  Will get into a college I (my child) want(s) to attend, but will take on major loan debt to
afford it (26% Students, 30% Parents)
11%  Will attend a college I (my child) may not be happy about (11% Students, 11% Parents)
7) How would you gauge your stress level about the college application process?
Students reported higher stress than parents.  Among respondents overall (students and parents combined), 69% reported “Very High” or “High” levels of stress.  That’s up 1% from last year and up 13% from 2003 when The Princeton Review first conducted this survey.
25% Very High (26% Students, 22% Parents)
44%  High  (45% Students, 42% Parents)
            Combined 69% Very High or High  (up 13% from 2003, first year of survey)
28% Average (26% Students, 33% Parents)
03% Low  (03% Students, 03% Parents)
00% Very Low (0% Students, 0% Parents)
8) Ideally, how far from home would you like the college you (your child) attend(s) to be?
Half (50%) of parents would ideally like their child to attend a college less than 250 miles from home.   However, the majority (66%) of students would ideally like to attend a college more than 250 from home with 37% of them wishing it would be 500+ miles and 17% wishing it would be 1,000+ miles from home.
39%  0 to 250 miles (34% Students, 50% Parents)
30%  250 to 500 miles (29% Students, 30% Parents)
17%  500 to 1,000 miles (20% Students, 11% Parents)
14%  1,000 miles or more (17% Students, 09% Parents)
9) When it comes to choosing which college you (or your child) will attend, which of the following do you think it is most likely to be?
While the plurality (49%) of respondents overall said they/their child would likely attend the college that will be the “best overall fit,” only about 1 of 10 respondents, since the survey began, indicated they’d choose the college “with the best academic reputation.”
10%  College with best academic reputation (11% Students, 08% Parents)
06%  College that will be the most affordable (06% Students, 06% Parents)
35%  College with best program for my (my child’s) career interests (37% Students, 32%
49%  College that will be the best overall fit (46% Students, 54% Parents)
10) If you (your child) had a way to compare colleges based on their commitment to environmental issues (from academic offerings to practices concerning energy use, recycling, etc.), how much would this contribute to your (your child’s) decision to apply to or attend a school?
A majority (65%) of respondents overall said having such information would contribute “Strongly,” “Very Much,” or “Somewhat” to their decisions (up 1% from last year), while 35% of them indicated said it would contribute “Not Much” or “Not at all.”    Students placed higher value on this information than parents did.
07% Strongly (08% Students, 05% Parents)
17% Very Much (20% Students, 12% Parents)
41% Somewhat (41% Students, 40 % Parents)
            Combined 65% Somewhat, Very Much or Strongly (up 1% from last year)
25% Not Much (23 % Students, 30% Parents)
10% Not at All (08% Students, 13% Parents)
            Combined 35 % Not Much or Not at All
11) Has the state of the economy this year affected your (your child’s) decisions about applying to or attending college?
Among respondents overall (students and parents combined), 72% say the economy has affected their decisions about college.  That’s up 4% from last year.  Almost 3 out 4 students (74%) as compared to almost 2 out of 3 parents (65%) said the economy has affected their college decisions.
14%  Yes: Extremely  (14% Students, 12% Parents)
23%  Yes: Very Much  (24% Students, 21% Parents)
35%  Yes: Somewhat  (36% Students, 32% Parents)
         Combined 72% Yes (up 4% from last year)
28%   No: Not at all.  (26% Students, 35% Parents)
12) If your answer to the previous question was one of the “Yes” choices, how would you describe the major way the economy has affected your (your child’s) college application decisions?
The majority (52%) of respondents overall said they are applying to more “‘financial aid safety’ schools” (a 18% increase over the 34% of respondents that selected this answer in 2009 of the same three answer choices).
23%  Am applying to colleges with “lower sticker prices” (21% Students, 29% Parents)
52%  Am applying to more “financial aid safety” schools  (54% Students, 48% Parents)
25%  Am applying to colleges closer to home to save on travel  (25% Students, 23% Parents)
13) What will be the biggest benefit of your (your child) attending college and earning a college diploma?
Among respondents overall (students and parents combined), 61% see the main benefit of a college degree as a potentially better job / higher income and career training rather than the education per se.  That’s up 6% from last year.
26%  The education (26% Students, 26% Parents)
13%  The exposure to new ideas (13% Students, 12% Parents)
            Combined 39% chose answers related to education and learning
42%  The potentially better job and higher income (42% students, 42% Parents)
19%  The training for a specific career (19% Students, 20% Parents)
            Combined 61% chose answers related to job, income and career.
14) For our school profiles, we collect a lot of data directly from the colleges on everything from their admission/acceptance stats to their financial aid and graduation rates.   Of the following data points, which would you be most interested in knowing about a college you (your child) may be researching?
Among both student and parent respondents, the plurality (38%) are most interested in the average SAT score ranges of a college’s admitted freshmen.
38% Average SAT score ranges of its admitted freshmen last year (38% Students, 38% Parents)
24% Percent of applicants the college accepted last year (27% Students, 16% Parents)
21% Percent of undergraduates receiving financial aid (21% Students, 22% Parents)
17% College’s graduation rate (percent of students graduating in years) (14% Students, 24% Parents)
15) (optional) What advice would you give to college applicants or parents of applicants going through this experience next year?
“Start early” has been the advice most given by students and parents every year.  About 50% of respondents say this.   See sampler of students’ and of parents’ advice on the “College Hopes & Worries” area of Princeton Review site.

Is the college process like planning a wedding?

Is the college process like planning a wedding? ABSOLUTELY! The groom is your student and the parents (more like the mom) is the Bride. For most weddings the bride typically takes one year to plan the perfect wedding, well it takes 1 year to plan the college process.
You are your child’s Mouthpiece when it comes to the college process and they need you, this is a family process and they cannot not do it  alone. I remember looking at the election day results and being worried about my daughter when I heard things from Rand Paul (r,KY) who would like to abolish the Department of Education so kids don’t have to learn about “two mommies”. This type of homophobia should not be tolerated and this speaks to his character.I am concerned with funding and will kids from middle class families have an opportunity to get an education without graduating with hefty debt. Will our kids be able to afford the American Dream? I was speaking with a friend this week and she indicated that she took out student loans and her child will do the same. The difference between that time and today are so many factors, the tuition was lower, the interest on the loan was lower, there were more jobs for college kids who graduated with a BA and cost of living was lower. Today our kids are faced with so many challenges and I am scared for them, 80% of college graduates last year moved back home because they did not have a job, cost of living was too expensive and many students have overwhelming debt. This debt will be with them for years, they are excited to start their life but reality has hit them and the realization of their debt has hit them like a stack of bricks. So what is the alternative? Well I am doing some things that are different with my daughter, I am not sure how successful we will be, but I feel confident that if my daughter listens to me she will not have a tremendous amount of debt and we will not need to alter our lifestyle alot to pay for college. The fact is no one cares where you received your BA, in our competitive country a Masters is imperative in many fields, so why go a school where the tuition is $50,000 per year if you do not have these funds to spend? That being said as a family you need to have a plan from the very beginning and communication is imperative to this process.
I have decided to share our experiences with you in different steps, too much information in 1 blog could be very overwhelming….

Step 1:

  1. Get a box for all of the college information your child will receive, you take control of that information.  If you just hand that information to your child they will open only some and the rest will never see the light of day.
  2. Go through the information together, implement a weekly Family meeting and last approximately 1 hour, any longer and it will become ineffective. During this family meeting, you should start to discuss your child’s interest, do they want to go to college, what are their interests, grades, etc….. I would suggest that you make an agenda and everyone understands what will be discussed. I will elaborate in Step 2:The Family meeting and how you can make this work for your student. Our Family meetings have proven to be very successful for my family with our daughter’s college process.
  3. Have your child use your email when filling out profiles. This will keep you in the loop and you can weed out the information. Your student will become very frustrated with the massive emails that they will receive and sooner or later will stop looking at those emails. If you the parent get the initial emails, you will be able to weed through these emails and forward the ones to your child that you know will be of interest to them. Please keep in mind that sometimes they do not know what they want, I researched the college and if they offered the program that my daughter was seeking I requested information from that institution. Once the information was sent to us we reviewed it together and often times visited that school to see if it was a good fit. Of the 9 schools that Danielle applied to, only 5 of the schools were her choice the other 4 were suggestions that I made.
  4. Develop a relationship with the guidance counselor, this is really something that is imperative, remember it is the guidance counselor that writes a letter of recommendation for your child, you want to make sure that this person knows your child.
  5. Start building your child’s resume, believe me if you do not start in 9th grade you will forget things and this will cause your child to miss out on potential scholarship funding.

Till next time, turn to Hamptons MouthPiece, we will do the talking for you….Please feel free to send me subject ideas for me to talk about.

au revoir!

Even Mr. Softy Needs a MouthPiece

Even Mr. Softy Needs a MouthPiece!..One of my fondest memories of my childhood was being so excited when I heard the sound of Mr. Softy the Ice Cream man coming down the block. It was ice cream time and in a child’s life, a moment of pure happiness. All the children would go running after the truck. Yesterday while I was at a meeting, one of my fellow board members who owns a Ice cream truck began to tell a story about a neighborhood that chased Mr. Softy out of the area. Hmmm! Were they overweight and was upset that Mr. Softy was about to force them off of their diet? Were they health conscience people or maybe lactose intolerant, what the heck!!!! Who chases Mr. Softy away? Maybe it was Mr. Softy’s look, was he not creamy enough looking with sprinkles on top. What child does not welcome the Ice Cream truck?  I said to him clearly you need someone “to do the talking for you” you need a “MouthPiece”.
This leads me to the topic: Even Mr. Softy needs a MouthPiece. I know the area that chased the Ice Cream Man out and unless these homeowners know you, they are seriously protective of their children and who could blame them. The ice cream man needs to find the MouthPiece in that neighborhood and speak to them to spread the word; I carry lo-cal ice cream, my truck has been awarded the Cleanest Ice Cream Truck Award and I am safe for your children. Everyone needs a Mouthpiece even the Mouthpiece needs someone to talk for him or her.
We elect a Board of Education to be the Mouthpiece for our children; the PTA is a mouthpiece for the parents. Businesses hire salespeople, Public relations, marketing people to be a Mouthpiece for their company. Many individuals are not equipped to speak on their own behalf and therefore they need people with the gift of gab to promote them to… “Do the talking for them”.
Even Mr. Softy needs a Mouthpiece
When I first came to the Hamptons, I would attend events where I was the only minority at the event, a newcomer and I could have stayed in my seat and waited for people to come talk to me, but I did not. I needed to make opportunities happen for myself so I needed to network the room. It does take a special personality, commitment, drive, tenacity and complete confidence to be able to walk up to a complete stranger and start a conversation. Not everyone feels comfortable doing this; this is why you NEED to have people on your team who can do this for you.
So back to the topic “Even Mr. Softy Needs a Mouthpiece” if he wants to do sales in that area which is potentially very lucrative for his business, than yes he needs a Mouthpiece to open the doors for him.
All my adult life I have always enjoyed networking, help bridge relationships with a simple introduction. As my dear friend calls it I am a relationship broker.  When you are in need of a MouthPiece you can call on me, and… I’ll Do The Talking For You.

The Phoenix Rises

The Phoenix Rises…Yes my friends the Phoenix has Risen! Ahhhh today is the 1st day of the new chapter in my life and that thought is both exhilarating and nerve wrecking. My entire working life has always revolved around working for other people and being in a controlled situation. I have decided that I am going to be in charge of my own destiny and try to make it on my own. There is nothing to fear but fear itself. Sometimes you need that kick in the ass to get the motor going and that is what I needed. I have made a lot of money for a lot of people over the last 20 years, now is that time to put forth that energy and invest in myself.

There are so many different things I want to do and so many ideas that I look forward to bringing to life, but I will take the same road that I have implemented for my daughter Danielle with her college process. Our strategy is for her to take on one project per week, it is an effective strategy when working with a teenager who feels overwhelmed with the entire college process. So although I am multi facited, in the beginning I will start off with one project and grow from there.

I have been a MouthPiece for many companies for the last decade and they have become successful from me promoting their business, and in the end was it appreciated maybe, but always underestimated. So “We do the talking for you” will be taking our show on the road. What do you want me to talk about? How about a designer that I saw last night in NYC? Sally Wu (Act One), showed her Spring/Summer line to a group of Fashionista’s in NYC last night. The champagne was chilled and flowing and the “Ready-to-Wear” Line was feminine, yet strong. I liked many of the pieces and this is probably a designer whose clothes I would feel comfortable in. Or I could talk about designer “Calvin Tran” this designer who has 3 locations and  is one of the designers on the Bravo hit show “The Fashion Show” which debuted yesterday November 19th. There was plenty of drama and the jury is still out on which show I prefer Project Runway of The Fashion Show. Of the many people that attended Act One Collection fashion show, spotted was celebrity Chef, 15 year old Greg Grossman made a special appearance for the Act One Spring/Summer collection, if you have never had the extreme pleasure of sampling Greg’s dishes then you just don’t know what you are missing, rumor has it that young chef Greg will be helping BHGH behind the scenes on Extreme Makeover Home Edition set. Congratulations Greg! So there it is my soon to be followers, who will I be talking about next week…. As always your comments are always welcomed.